Cyber security is a strange thing. Just when we think we have figured it all, springs up a new malware, virus attack or ransomware that paralyzes the digital world. Everything happens so fast that no one can ever claim to have learnt everything about cybersecurity at any point in time. That makes establishing cybersecurity measures an ongoing process throughout the organization.
For system administrators, cybersecurity attacks can be a nightmare. They have to stay abreast with the latest developments in cybersecurity threats and solutions to keep organizational data safe and confidential at all times.
But, there are pressing questions that need permanent answers. Once those answers are unraveled one can be said to be having a reasonable amount of cybersecurity.
In what is to follow, we are going to discuss in detail some such answers on how organizations can keep themselves safe in the web world without falling prey to cyber security criminals.
In simple terms, it is a form of digital extortion. Cybercriminals take control of an organization or users’ devices and demand payment of ransom amount to release the data.
How Does it Spread?
The ransomware program installs itself in the user’s system when an infected file share through IM, email, social media or links is clicked
When the software is triggered it activates a pop-up window, a web page or a full-screen message that looks like originating from a trusted source
If the click responds to the message, the ransomware encrypts the user system’s data using strong techniques like AES-256 with a one-time random encryption key
The process repeats encrypting all user files thus locking the user from accessing the system
How to Prevent Ransomware?
Educate and empower users, most importantly employees to identify phishing emails, malicious software and links
Update all security patch and updates as soon as OEMs and software vendors release them
Implement organization-wide antivirus protection with automated security checks & ransomware detection
Take regular backups to face worst case scenario.
Malware are experts at ruining the smooth flow with which your systems work. They disrupt the entire system by injecting malicious codes or programs, and hence the name malware. There are several types of malware found in the Internet. The most common types include bugs, rootkits, adware, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, etc.
How Does it Spread?
Malware programs typically spread through links, email attachments, downloaded files, pirated software, etc.
They install in the user system when the file is opened
They force their way into critical operations of the system thus disrupting the smooth way it works
How to Prevent Malware?
A good anti-virus software can set the first line of defense against malware
For Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. there are several security plugins that help scan and prevent malware installations and attacks
Always update and install security patches. Databases of antivirus software must also be updated on a regular basis to safeguard systems against malware attacks
Access websites that are encrypted with a trusted SSL certificate.
Phishing mails are malicious and fraudulent mails that appear to be originating from reliable and legitimate sources. For instance, banks, government agencies, financial advisor, etc.
How Does it Spread?
Phishing mails trick users into submitting sensitive information like account login or password which compromises the user’s entire online identity.
Since the email looks exactly identical to those sent by the original senders, the users trust and submit their confidential information without any cross-checking
The hacker uses such submitted information for personal gain like stealing funds from accounts or to sanction transactions that the user won’t otherwise sanction.
How to prevent Phishing Attacks?
All emails must be opened and responded to only after ensuring the veracity of the sender
Looking at the email address and ensuring it is from the intended sender will also help
Verifiy the links sent through the mail. Instead, access the service or utility directly through a secure browser
If the email looks doubtful, avoid opening it and approach the sender directly
If a business manages multiple subdomains under single website to store important data of their client, employee, and business. Then such businesses must use Wildcard SSL Certificate of a trusted Certificate Authority to protect their subdomains from Man in the Middle and other malicious attacks. The primary benefits of using Wildcard Certificate are unlimited subdomain security, use latest encryption algorithm, 99% browser support and compatibility with desktop, mobile, and tablet. There are many resellers who offer Wildcard SSL Certificates at cheapest price without compromising its security standard.
Social engineering refers to the security tactic where users get duped into submitting their banking transactions to third parties to conduct fraudulent transactions. This typically involves phoning the user, claiming to have sent a wrong credit, asking for passwords or hint answers, etc.
How to Prevent Social Engineering?
- Prevent disclosing personal information to any third parties
- Keep personal information like birthdays, location, etc. that can lead to unearthing your passwords
- Practice secrecy when using card PIN numbers, passwords, OTPs, etc.
- Set up two-factor authentication for all bank accounts
Weak and commonly used passwords are the biggest and most common security pitfalls. A large population of Internet users have not changed or replaced their passwords for more than a year. This makes it easy for advanced hackers and cybersecurity criminals to steal passwords and gain entry into the user’s credentials.
How Does it Spread?
- Users share their passwords publicly with colleagues for convenience
- They keep easy to guess passwords like ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, ‘password’, etc.
- Passwords are not replaced or changed for a long period of month, sometimes for years
How to Prevent Password Related Security Lapses?
- Change passwords every month, or at least every quarter
- Use online tools to create tough and complex passwords that cannot be easily guessed
- Prevent passwords from being shared or known to many people
Final Words of Advice
We know. Nobody likes to be advised. But, in cyber security parlance it pays to listen to some advice. The Internet is a wild place where malicious viruses, bots, worms and all kinds of security threats emerge on a daily place. Also, don’t forget to update your operating systems, security patches and antivirus software. Stay protected. Browse safe. Keep Internet your best friend.